Dec 2019


A Message from the PresidentBaxter
J. Joseph Baxter

It was with heavy hearts that the NCSC, CCJ, and COSCA boards of directors convened in Washington, D.C. in late November for the NCSC Fall Events. With the sudden and all-too-soon passing of our CCJ president, Chief Justice Mark Cady of Iowa, we lost a leader, a mentor, a friend, and a colleague who epitomized the definition of a true public servant. Chief Justice Cady continuously aspired to create a better, more efficient, more accessible system of justice. He was a terrific jurist and a better person. His passing presents an opportunity to pause from our hectic schedules and refocus on what is important as we chart our path going forward. He and his quiet leadership will be sorely missed by all.

As outlined by our boards at the D.C. meetings, there is certainly a lot of activity at play in our respective organizations. As is the case with many endeavors we undertake, it is often the Opioidsconcerted efforts of all three organizations that produce a better system of justice. Such was the case on full display in Washington, with the National Judicial Opioid Task Force releasing its final report and recommendations. Under the leadership of Chief Justice Loretta Rush and State Court Administrator Deborah Taylor Tate, the task force has produced a document and a policy that are sure to improve the lives of many. A “tip of the cap” to those COSCA members who served on the task force or played any part in the resulting recommendations. It is a must read for all COSCA members and a terrific tool kit for program implementation in our respective states.

The topics we tackle and the education we receive and provide to better our state court systems are impressive. From the Judicial Branch Leadership Academy, to the Problem-Solving Courts Summit; from the National Open Court Data Standards (NODS) to court security, including cybersecurity; from online dispute resolution (ODR) to foreign threats to state courts; and from artificial-intelligence focus groups to explainer videos on jury service, our work is diverse and extensive.

In his remarks at the William H. Rehnquist Award Dinner at our meetings in D.C., U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts spoke of the high quality of work being done in our state courts despite the prodigious volume of filings we encounter. The opioid initiative and resulting recommendations as to how to combat this crisis is but one example of what we are capable of producing to better serve those who appear before our courts.

Having just celebrated Thanksgiving and with our holiday seasons upon us, I am thankful to be part of the COSCA organization and the extraordinary talent of its members. In this season of thanks and reflection, let us remain mindful of the important work and service we are providing and thankful for the opportunity to participate in the administration of justice toward enhancement of the world’s finest system of justice.

Wishing you and your families a very happy holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year!

Learning Center Planned to Honor Chief Justice Mark CadyCJ Cady
The Iowa Judicial Branch has announced plans for the Chief Justice Mark S. Cady Learning Center. Chief Justice Cady, who died unexpectedly at the age of 66, was an advocate for civics education, and the center will be located in the Iowa Judicial building in Des Moines. Click here if you wish to make a donation to the proposed learning center. 

ODR Focus of Conference, Podcast

The growing role of online dispute resolution in the courts took center stage at the 2019 International ODR Forum in Washington, D.C., October 28-30. Court technologists and administrators, academic researchers, and private-sector entrepreneurs from around the world came together to share ideas and experiences about what has, and has not, worked well when ODR is applied in the courts. Read more about the forum here.

Utah Supreme Court Justice Deno Himonas, the forum’s keynote speaker, also shared his thoughts on the National Center for State Courts’ Court Talk podcast. He discussed the genesis and progress of his state’s ODR project, which has yielded promising results.

COSCA Member Spotlight: Dawn Marie Rubio, WashingtonRubioWhy and how did you become a state court administrator?
I think I knew that I wanted to be a state court administrator from the moment I started working for the National Center for State Courts in 1998. As a principal court management consultant and staff to COSCA/CCJ committees, I was so impressed with their abilities and thoughtfulness around the work of the state courts. I wanted to be just like that. My path to state court administrator did not have a linear trajectory in a single state, however. I moved around a bit to take advantage of learning opportunities and career experiences, especially my move to Utah to work under Dan Becker. Dan is a quiet and formidable leader as many of you know. Working under him enhanced my skill set and gave me the confidence to take the next step in Washington.

What do you like most and least about being a state court administrator?
The thing I like the most about being state court administrator is being able to put my “stamp” or vision on how the AOC and the judicial branch operate. And I love being part of the chief justice/SCA leadership team. While necessary, the thing I like the least is being the final arbiter on AOC personnel matters.

Tell us about your family.
I have a great family and we are close in spirit and love—if not geography. My parents are still with me, thankfully. They are in their 80s and live in Orlando, Florida. They will be visiting me this Christmas in my new home in Olympia. I am the oldest of three siblings, including my brother in Florida and my sister in Arizona. I am also the “cool” aunt of a niece and two nephews. So that’s my biological family. My court family is extensive, having worked in the trial court in Florida, the AOCs in Illinois and Utah, and the National Center for State Courts. I have been so fortunate to have wonderful colleagues and friends throughout my court career and they have truly become like family to me.

What is your philosophy about using social networking? If you use social networking, which sites do you prefer, Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, or others?
I am not a big social networker so that might say something about my philosophy. I do have a Facebook account in order to keep connected with friends and family across the miles. Plus, I am a sucker for heartwarming stories and videos . . . think military mom returning from deployment and pet adoption stories! But I do not post a lot of content on Facebook, and I am not “friends” with people with whom I work. I also do not weigh in on political or social content. I keep my personal opinions off the Internet.

If you didn’t have to work for a living, what would you do?
I would travel the world for pleasure much more than I do now. I have been lucky to travel within the United States and abroad. But there are so many places that I want to visit. Sometimes the best part of travel is coming home! And when I am home, I would love to operate an animal sanctuary.

Anniversaries . . .

COSCA congratulates the following members for achieving anniversaries in office in January through March: Robin Sweet of Nevada and Nancy Dixon of Kansas (9 years); Sandra Vujnovich of Louisiana (6 years); Kathy Lloyd of Missouri and Deborah Taylor Tate of Tennessee (5 years); Christopher Keating of New Hampshire (4 years); Marty Sullivan of Arkansas (3 years); Nancy Cozine of Oregon (2 years); and Dawn Marie Rubio of Washington, Joseph Armstrong of West Virginia, Cheryl Bailey of the District of Columbia, Rich Hobson of Alabama, Mary Noonan of Utah, Lisa Kiel of Florida, and McKinley Wooten of North Carolina (1 year). Note: Rich Hobson served as Alabama’s state court administrator from 2001-03 and 2013-16, and Lisa Kiel served as Florida’s state courts administrator from 2003-14.
. . . and Birthdays

Eight COSCA members celebrate birthdays in January, February, and March. Happy Birthday to Lily Sharpe of Wyoming (January 8); Stacey Marz of Alaska (January 16); Martin Hoshino of California (January 20); Beth McLaughlin of Montana (January 21); Greg Sattizahn of South Dakota (January 31); Joseph Armstrong of West Virginia (February 17); Randy Koschnick of Wisconsin (March 17); and Lawrence Marks of New York (March 21)